Galway footballers will have to improve enormously on the wretched and pitiful second-half display they produced against Kerry last weekend if they are to get anything out of their joust with Tyrone in Tuam this Sunday (2.30pm ) .Based on last weekend, one side appears to be on an upward graph and the other on a downward spiral.
Tyrone defeated Cork last Saturday night in Healy Park, scoring 3-09 in the process, and they welcomed back Seán Cavanagh, Ryan Mellon and Philip Jordan which gives them a strong hand from which to select this Sunday. Their confidence is high and with some of their top storm-troopers back into the frame, it will make them exceedingly difficult to beat .
In contrast Galway has been ravaged by injuries and many a Galway heart felt a genuine tightening in the chest when the side’s talisman and best player Michael Meehan was carried off in Pearse Stadium last Sunday. When he went down clutching his knee, many would have thought: “That’s us finished for the year, if he is gone ."
Thankfully the news on the knee injury is relatively positive and the entire panel and supporters received a gigantic boost in hearing Meehan’s injury as not as serious as originally feared.
The Caltra star, who had once again started in blistering form against Kerry before his injury, saw a specialist and had an MRI on Tuesday.
"It is definitely not his cruciate," manager Joe Kernan confirmed this week. "There is a small tear to his medial ligament and bruising to the bone. He is likely to miss four to six weeks, but it is great news. And we hope he will be back for the championship opener against New York on May 2.”
He has become the team’s most important player, and the fact that he had already scored 2-19 (14fs, and one 45 ) in three and a half games of the team’s entire total of 4-56 tells its own story.
Kernan’s panel is still badly hit by injury and he will be without his two main attackers for Sunday’s relegation clash with Tyrone . Neither Meehan nor Sean Armstrong expect to play until the New York Trip.
Watching Galway last weekend surrounded by Kerry supporters was a chastising experience. The Kerry team toyed with Galway like a cat with a mouse, and Jack O’Connor’s treble substitution mid-way in the second half told us all we needed to know about his opinion on the challenge Galway had offered.
“It was men against boys,” said Kernan afterwards. “If we want to stay in division one next year, we have to win against Tyrone. Injuries are the problem at the moment and we were totally overrun by Kerry in the second half. A lot of boys threw in the towel and that is not good enough. We will have to improve for the Tyrone game, it’s as simple as that.”
Galway v Kerry: Eoin O Conghaile; Donal O'Neill, Finian Hanley, Damien Burke; Diarmuid Blake (0-1 ), Gary O'Donnell, David Reilly; Barry Cullinane, Paul Conroy (0-3 ); Gary Sice, Joe Bergin, Niall Coleman; Michael Meehan (1-4, 0-3f, 0-1 ‘45' ), Nicky Joyce, Matthew Clancy. Subs: Cillian de Paor for M Meehan (inj ) (22 ); Fiachra Breathnach (0-1 ) for Coleman (41 ); Declan Meehan for Reilly (45 ); Danny Cummins for Clancy (58 ).